Tahiti and Moorea- French Polynesia

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Tahiti is a paradise unlike any I have ever seen. Matt and I had the pleasure of spending christmas and my birthday in this heaven on earth and had an absolute BLAST. Tahiti is comprised of 118 islands boasting the bluest water and most breathtaking beaches and mountains. Flying to Tahiti you will land in Papeete. Brace yourself because the airport at Tahiti is not air conditioned and the lines can be quite long. They are definitely on “Island time.” From here you can catch a flight onward to Bora Bora or one of the other neighboring Islands off the mainland- but if you are heading on to Moorea I wouldn’t recommend flying because the ferry system is quick and easy- more about that below!
In Papeete, we stayed the majority of our visit at the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort. The resort was very beautiful, nestled in a cove surrounded by greenery. However, the beach was not private and the waves in that area were quite rough. It also did not have the picturesque water that we saw on Moorea. Although they did offer us a room upgrade and it seemed to us that the hotel was mostly unoccupied- which was nice and gave it a very private feel- we did not experience the best customer service. The restaurant was very slow to take our order despite there only being a few customers present and the food wasn’t the best. It was good, but like most restaurants at the resorts in French Polynesia, it wasn’t cheap and I would have expected better quality for the price. I would not recommend staying at Pearl Beach longer than one or two days. It was economical and a nice way to save a few dollars but not the best of what Tahiti has to offer. I recommend your stay on Papeete be brief so stay for a night or so and if you are looking for an affordable option, Pearl Beach works quite nicely. Just don’t expect to be doted on, its understaffed and largely hands off.
During our stay in Papeete, we did the 4×4 jeep safari and we loved it! I highly recommend it during your time on Papeete. The tour is lots of fun- it definitely is bumpy so I wouldn’t recommend it for people who get car or motion sickness. The safari takes you through a gorgeous, off the beaten path valley with waterfalls every way you look. We kept saying it looked like something out of Jurassic Park. They also  take you to a beautiful crystal clear river to swim in. The tour can be half day (approx 4 hours ) which is what we opted for at just $55 per person; or full day, which is 8 hours and includes lunch and a deeper trek into the crater. I think the full day option could be great and we may give it a try on our next trip.TAHITI2TAHITI1
4×4 Safari
We had a complimentary shuttle from our hotel into town and that’s a nice way to spend an afternoon. Its definitely “city-ish” and a little dirty so don’t expect anything grand. They have a nice market where you can buy some moderately priced souvenirs and fresh fruit-
(I grabbed some Tahitian oils that smell incredible!) but the best part is that between 6-6:30 pm food trucks come and gather up next to the ocean! The food is affordable and apparently some of the best food in the city. The trucks serve all styles of food from French to Chinese and you can enjoy your meal outside beside the water. We loved it!
Now on to Moorea!
I think the best way to travel to Moorea from Papeete is definitely on the public ferry. You can get it from in town, just a few blocks from where the food trucks come. The ferry will cost you about $30 per person roundtrip. The ferry is huge, clean, air conditioned and theres a big cafeteria on board where you can get food. It takes just 30 minutes to get there and as soon as you lay eyes on Moorea you will truly see the majesty of French Polynesia. The water is crystal clear and the bluest blue you can imagine. I would recommend the bulk of your stay be on Moorea. It is truly the most beautiful place I have ever laid eyes on with massive big green mountains, blue water, lagoons full of tropical fish and sea life and perfect weather.
We rented a scooter for the day and we have never had more fun. You can grab one right across the street from the ferry dock on Moorea. The island is easy to navigate with just one road going all the way around. It was quite safe as well, very little traffic and cars were cautious of the scooters.
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Our first stop on Moorea was the Lagoonarium which I think is a must see for anyone visiting. An outrigger canoe takes you out to a private motu where you can spend the afternoon snorkeling with huge sting rays, black tipped reef sharks and an array of the most colorful tropical fish you’ve ever seen. You can snorkel right off the dock into shallow water and then follow a rope around the entire reef while you watch sea life. They do two feedings per day, 11:30 am and 2 pm (check website for current feeding
times) and its incredible to see- the rays jump right out of the water! They offer free coffee, hot chocolate and tea as well as a shower facility. They also provided the water shoes, snorkel equipment and life jackets as necessary. Admission was $35 per person and worth every penny. There is no food available for sale once there so it’s a nice idea to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it outside at one of their fun “living room style” set ups. TAHITI 4
Boat ride out to the Lagoonarium
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Photo of Snorkeling at the Lagoonarium
We stopped for lunch at a fun affordable beach shack called Snack Didier (PK 5,5 c/mer Maharepa Centre MOOREA) . The food was excellent, fresh and reasonably priced. We highly recommend the shrimp on a stick.
We then followed the road over to the public Opunohu Beach, just past the Hilton hotel. The views are incredible, the water is crystal clear and the vibe is lots of fun.
After the beach we followed the road up to the Belvedere point. The lookout is way up in the mountains with must-see panoramic views of the incredible island. TAHITI 5
We had an absolute blast and I never wanted to leave. The Sofitel, intercontinental and the Hilton are among the highest rated resorts on the island and from what I saw of each they are well worth their money.
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The money is the CXP and the exchange rate to USD during our trip was about 100 to 1. Always check the current exchange rate on google before your trip, as it does fluctuate. If you are looking to try to cut some corners as far as expenses  you can pack some foods to substitute meals (we brought power bars and snacks like pretzels)- Food is pricey and if you stay for a week and eat every meal at your hotel restaurant, its gonna cost ya. You can also eat off the hotel grounds at smaller local spots and save some money that way- or else stop at the local food market to pick up snacks and water bottles upon arrival.
Add it to your bucket list- it is a MUST SEE!
for more info and to see what all the islands of Tahiti have to offer head to Tahiti-tourisme.com
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2 thoughts on “Tahiti and Moorea- French Polynesia

  1. This is awesome! Although I know I am not going to Tahiti anytime soon, it was so interesting to read. I’m sure that you will get quite far with this blog! Keep it up!

  2. WOW Dana, THANK YOU! have been waiting for a new post and THIS is amazing.!!So beautiful and informative, soooo grateful for your sharing it:)

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